Personnel files show more errors in McCroskey's office

Personnel files show more errors in McCroskey's office that could have cost a man his job

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Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey (source: Knox County) Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey (source: Knox County)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - New documents obtained by 6 News from Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey's office show even more problems. Dozens of citations and unprocessed checks were found stuffed in the desk of a recently fired clerk's office employee.

6 News has been looking into a personnel file for another clerk recently fired by McCroskey. In the file, many errors and mistakes are listed, but Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey did not discuss these mistakes when she addressed commissioners earlier this week.

McCroskey only gave them a written explanation addressing concerns raised in e-mails by an assistant district attorney. McCroskey has not yet addressed multiple mistakes listed in personnel files.

Long time employee Mortisha Graybeal was fired from her Knox County General Sessions Court Clerk position in September. She'd been an employee in the clerk's office since 1995.

Graybeal did not sign off on the termination letter, but in her personnel file are allegations of missing payments, citation mix ups and bookkeeping errors. The mistakes led to license suspensions.

According to the file, in one case, truck driver Earl Ruffin received a traffic citation. His company, Kuntzman Trucking paid the ticket. A copy of the check was in the personnel file.

However, Ruffin received a notice from the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's Office.

"I got a statement from Tennessee saying the ticket hadn't been paid, and if it don't get paid, they were going to suspend my license," said Ruffin.

He called the clerk's office and his company.

"They gave me the reference number that it was paid from, and I called them back. They still couldn't get it straightened out. I called my company back," said Ruffin.

Ruffin says his company tried to work it out with the clerk's office. He says it was a time-consuming process to try to make sure his license wasn't suspended.

Dealing with the mistake caused anger and frustration, Ruffin said. He says a clerical error leading to his license being suspended would put him out of work.

"You know how hard it is to get jobs right now, and what I do is drive a truck, and with no license means no job," said Ruffin.

According to the personnel file, Graybeal entered the wrong citation number. The file states "this type of problem happened often."

Another issue shows a man's license being suspended in 2005 for not paying a ticket. However, the records show the check was at the clerk's office.

When the check was found eight years later, the suspension was lifted. The file reads "we often had to search for payments."

After Graybeal was fired, the files state that four days later, her desk was cleaned out. Numerous checks and citations were found. Photos were taken of the paperwork.

Truck driver Earl Ruffin hopes all these issues are fixed and that his license isn't suspended for clerical error.

"I hope this is it, and I won't hear from them again, and I hope they have it straightened out," said Ruffin.

6 News reached out to McCroskey for a comment, but so far she has not responded.

This is the second clerk's office employee to be fired in recent months. Former clerk's employee Sarah Pendley was also fired in September for alleged mistakes.

6 News spoke with Commission Chair Brad Anders earlier in the week. He says in a couple of weeks, judges, the DA, the clerk and others involved in the justice system will meet to try and discover what the problems are specifically, and try to find a solution.

He also says the audit and justice committees will meet to go over the alleged mistakes made in the clerk's office.

6 News reached out to Graybeal, but she also has not returned our calls.

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